15 Simple and Affordable Ways to Save Energy at Home

Save Energy at Home

If you have modern electrical appliances in your home, chances are you incur huge monthly electricity bills. Luckily, you are not completely helpless. There are several tips that you can use to keep your consumption at a down low.

Besides saving you a great deal of cash, saving energy will give you the satisfaction of creating a more conducive environment for your kids to live in. The following are some of the changes you should consider making to your daily routine.

1. Use a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostat

The great thing here is that a simple thermostat will not cost you an arm and a leg. With one in place, you can choose when to turn it on to regulate how much energy your appliances consume. Experts are of the view that if you lower the temperature in your appliances by one degree, you can save about $85 a year. That’s money that can be channeled to other important ventures.

2. Take More Showers and Fewer Baths

take-a-shower

By hitting the shower more often, you can finally avoid using extra energy heating your bathwater. A simple bath may consume a significant amount of power, putting a huge dent in your pockets. In this case, it is more advisable to use a low-pressure showerhead. A high-pressure one may take a toll on your house’s heating mechanism due to its capacity.

3. Make The Most Use of Daylight

study-outside

Whenever you get the chance, always ensure you complete most of your work during the day. This eliminates the need to use artificial light at night. Make an effort to brush up on your studies or work reports when the sun still shines.

During the day, ensure you open your windows as well. This way, sunlight can get into the house. Close your windows early enough to spare yourself the trouble of heating your house at night.

4. Watch How You Use Your Refrigerator

fridge-temperate

A refrigerator can consume a lot of power if not used correctly. You can always limit its power consumption by adopting a few usage guidelines. Firstly, avoid leaving the door open. Secondly, it is better to have it turned on only when fully stocked. An empty fridge consumes more power than a fully stocked one.

5. Iron Several Clothes at Once

ironing-clothes

Over the years, this has risen to be a golden rule when it comes to saving power. When you iron your laundry fresh off the drier, your iron box consumes less power. Say no to the lazy habit of ironing clothes only when you need to wear them.

The more frequently you use your iron box, the bigger your energy expenditure gets. When doing laundry work, you might want to avoid tumble drying it. A good alternative would be air drying, which uses sunlight and wind to leave clothes fresh and dry.

6. Invest In a Solar Panel

home-solar-panel

One good source of renewable energy is sunlight. You should consider purchasing a solar panel for your home. Most retail outlets sell them at reasonable costs. Once installed, you can use it to heat your bath water and to power low-energy appliances. Ultimately, you will see the difference in your electricity bill.

7. Turn Off and Unplug Appliances After Use

unplug-electronic-devices

This should be one of the basic habits you instill in your kids. Ensure they get into the good habit of unplugging devices such as TVs, phones, and laptops of their wall sockets before going to bed and when leaving the house.

A device plugged into a wall socket still uses some charge even when on standby mode. In addition to this, limit the amount of time spent watching TV. Engage your kids in outdoor games over the weekend.

8. Purchase Energy Saving Appliances

energy-star

If your electricity bulb is not kind on your electricity bill, consider tossing it away for a new one. Ensure every bulb in your home is the energy-saving type. While an energy-saving bulb may be pricier than a standard one, the saving grace is that you stand to save more power just by using it.

Watch out for the “energy star” label on every electronic appliance you purchase. This label indicates that the appliance conforms to federal energy regulations.

Look at all the appliances in your home. This is especially important in large appliances like washing machines.

9. Exercise Wisdom in Your Heating Strategy

open-a-window

When turning up the heat in your house in the evening or during winter, ensure all windows and doors are closed. This way, the house can retain heat easily. Open windows always let in cold air, leaving your home just that way it was in the first place.

Once heated to your liking, turn off the heater.  A cost-effective way to heat a room is a pellet stove. They are warm and appealing. When cooling, it is better to open windows and let the room cool naturally. This is because air conditioners run on a lot of electricity.

If you are going to invest in an air conditioner, it is important to understand their power and effectiveness. This is measured in BTUs. You should also have an understanding of the different types and size air conditioners available.  One can go for a fixed or portable air conditioner depending on your needs. 

10. Sensitize Your Kids

child-energy-saving

Without proper knowledge of the importance of saving energy, kids are likely to take things for granted at home. Ensure you draft a set of guidelines on how devices should be used at home. Sensitize your kids regularly on energy-related matters. This way, they may start taking your efforts seriously, which is a plus in parenting.

11. Insulate Your Home

Attic-Radiant-Barrier

The better your home is sealed, or insulated, the more efficient will be your heating and cooling efforts. The cost saving on your energy bill could be as much as 20%. 

In winter we are trying to avoid warm air leaking from the house and cold air entering through gaps and cracks around doors and windows. In summer we need the hot air to stay outside and not penetrate through the roof and walls.

You want to work from the roof downwards. Insulating the ceiling can be done in one of two ways.   Installing reflective insulation, mostly to keep the home cool in summer, forms a radiant barrier and prevents heat from entering the living space.

Take a look at the best radiant barriers. The other option is fiberglass insulation matting. This prevents heat from escaping into the roof and retains the heat where it is needed.

Remember to insulate the roof above areas that are not insulated such as the garage. 

Check for cracks and gaps, especially around doors and windows, where air can escape. Some caulking and weather-stripping will seal the problem.

To insulate floors, a mineral wool insulation supported by netting is laid between the joists. Do not block the air bricks that provide ventilation under suspended floors, this prevents the boards from rotting.

Insulating the hot water cylinder and the hot water pipes is an easy and inexpensive operation. Your local DIY store can supply you with the correct cylinder jacket and foam tubing for the pipes, simply slip the on.

Radiator reflector panels fitted behind your radiators will prevent heat from escaping through the wall and reflect it into the room. 

12. Install Energy Efficient Windows

Energy Efficient Windows

Windows play a significant part in the transfer of heat in and out of the home, and the wastage could amount to as much as  20% of your heating bill.

Double-pane, or double-glaze, windows should replace your standard single-pane windows. This has a double benefit, reducing heat loss in winter, and helping to keep the home cooler in hot summer conditions.

In very cold regions, significant savings can be affected by installing gas-filled windows with “low-e” coatings. If you are in an area that experiences extreme weather events, storm windows, either interior or exterior, would be recommended.

In summer months when the mercury starts to climb, your double-pane or Low-E coated window will help to reflect light and reduce the amount of heat gain in the home. A saving of $20 to $90 a year can be realized by replacing your single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR windows.

Another very easy and low-cost option to keep the heat off the windows is to fit awnings, shutters, screens, or window shades.

13. Upgrade Your HVAC System

Indoor Gas Furnace

Furnaces built before 1992, with a standing pilot, are probably reaching the end of their life, and are wasting as much as 35% of the power used. A condensing furnace, with a 90% efficiency factor is the replacement recommended by ACEEE

Furnaces after 1991 probably have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 80%. Replacement here will not make as big a difference, but could still save 10-11% on your power bill. An energy auditor or your heating service technician will be able to measure your AFUE and give you specific advice. The saving on houses with boilers and hot water heat distribution such as radiators will be even greater.

Remember that your HVAC system has a three-way function, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning. Energy Star gas furnaces have a different rating for the Northern United States where their furnaces are labeled with the standard Energy Star logo. They are found to be 16% more efficient than the baseline models. In the Southern United States, with a specific rating, the saving on fuel costs will be 12%.

Air-conditioning does not contribute nearly as much to the electrical bill as heat, but savings can still be made, even though a smaller 5000 BTU air conditioner will naturally use less energy than a larger 10 000 BTU air conditioner. Energy Star air-conditioners are 8% more efficient than standard models. 

Looking at the ventilation system throughout the house, the heat loss through the metal ducting could be as high as 20%. Placing insulation around these ducts and sealing any leaks will complete your heating upgrade.

14. Plant Trees to Save Energy

Plant a Tree

On a hot sunny day, you will find far more relief under a big leafy tree than under an umbrella. The reason is that trees have a process of releasing water vapor known as “evapotranspiration”.

Planting trees will add beauty to your property and the shade will help to keep the home cool with a resultant saving on the energy bill. This applies especially in the Southern States where air-conditioning accounts for nearly 40% of energy costs.

You will also be doing your bit on the Green campaign, reducing the carbon footprint and global warming. Depending on the number of shade estimates of savings on energy bills range from 5 to 15%.

Where, and what type of trees to plant is most important. Large leafy shade trees should be planted on the south and west side of the house. Ensure that sidewalk, driveways, and patios are shaded as these hard surfaces increase the heat load.

Plant deciduous trees that provide good shade in summer, but drop their leaves in winter. This will allow for a bit more sunshine on the property during colder months.

Evergreens retain their leaves or needles all year and should be planted, in a strategic pattern, on the north side of the house. As a windbreak, they will serve to shield the house from the slow cold winds normally coming down from the north. In summer they will also provide a certain amount of shade.

15. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans can help to trim your energy bill, but only if used in conjunction with your other energy-saving methods.

A rotating ceiling fan does not make the room any cooler, but the “wind chill factor” does cool the skin. Leaving the fan blowing while you go shopping will not result in a cooler room on your return.

To get the cost-saving benefit from a ceiling fan it must be used in sync with your HVAC. Engaging the ceiling fan while the air-conditioning is running will allow you to raise the temperature control by as much as 4 degrees, thus using less energy.

In winter simply reverse the blade rotation, pushing warm air downwards, and drop the thermostat to a level of comfort.

Conclusion

The house is an integrated system operating inside the envelope of the building. Once the envelope has been sealed and insulated, there are so many options in the house and we need a strategic plan to coordinate our efforts. A good idea is to call on the services of an Energy Auditor to access and report on possible further improvements.

You also cannot be sure of the power supply at all times. A violent storm or blackout could leave you without power which is not great to deal with. You might also need portable power for outdoor adventures. Consider investing in a quality portable generator for these reasons. 

All in all, securing a better future for your family is in your hands. You may find that a slight change in routine is not bad at all. Try to do things differently and you will definitely benefit from the results of your efforts.

This article was last updated on August 31, 2020 .

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Written by

Writing full time from home, Charl has plenty of time to tinker around the house, whipping up something in the kitchen or enhancing the garden. As a result, he writes extensively on topics related to the home and garden. He enjoys modern technology and advanced gadgets but still has a soft spot for quality reliable appliances. He is passionate about durability and quality going to great lengths to find the very best ideas and leading products to share with readers.

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